The NSW government released its long awaited transport masterplan two days ago just yesterday with plans to introduce light rail services from the city out to Randwick and down George St.
RTBU Secrteary Alex Claassens responded to the plan saying the Government’s commitment to additional public transport in the masterplan was welcome but the detail and delivery needed to be treated with caution.
You can read more about the masterplan here
Plans to redirect buses coming into the Sydney CBD from the Hills District to the Cahill Expressway is a good start towards dealing with huge congestion issues in the city but much more is needed.
Division Secretary Chris Preston said any sensible initiatives to ease traffic congestion in the city, particularly around Wynyard and down George St would be welcome, but there is much more that the government could be doing.
“Every morning drivers and commuters find themselves in a conga line of buses across the Harbour Bridge as they battle their way off the bridge and through to Wynyard.” Read more »
Government announces CBD congestion cure
Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announced this week that the NSW Government would implement a number of initiatives to reduce congestion and improve reliability for buses coming into the Sydney CBD from the north.
The Minister says the changes will be implemented from early next year and that work was already underway to see some of these delivered.
To begin with the Government will re-direct more than seven per cent of current morning peak bus services coming across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and entering the city by York Street.
This will see around 60 morning peak buses from the North West enter the city by the Cahill Expressway and travel down Bridge, Pitt, Hunter and Castlereagh streets before terminating at Market Street.
Other initiatives already in progress to deal with congestion include:
- The formation of a dedicated Police motorcycle team for the CBD of Sydney, to specifically deal with congestion and avoid traffic stopping in intersections
- Sydney Harbour Bridge toll booth removal
- Double decker bus trial
- Introduction of bus marshals
- Traffic signaling and parking changes.
What do you think of these initiatives? Will they work? What else needs to be done?
The Sydney Morning Herald today reportsthat plans outlined in the recently released Transport Masterplan to turn around thousands of bus commuters at the edges of Sydney’s CBD remain some years away. The Masterplan states:
A redesign of the bus network will focus on Sydney CBD. The reconfigured bus network will be planned around the principles of ‘near-side’ termination and some through-routing, rather than ‘far-side’ termination. Instead of the current arrangement under which many bus routes enter the CBD, travel through and terminate at the opposite side of the CBD, creating congestion and layover challenges, the future network will see additional cross-city Metrobus-style routes that traverse the CBD, terminating at destinations beyond. Local routes will terminate just inside the CBD (the ‘near side’), allowing passengers to connect to other high-capacity modes such as rail or light rail, or to walk a short distance to their final destination. This more efficient use of Sydney’s bus fleet will result in more frequent, more reliable journeys for bus customers and relieve congestion for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
As we have said – it’s great to see the government looking at possibilities for improving bus services and reducing the time drivers spend on congested CBD streets. But how long do we have to wait for some action?
But while these big projects take the limelight, the government also has a huge raft of bus and tram initiatives to deliver shorter-term improvements to public transport movements around our cities.
Initiatives flagged include:
- Bus priority for Sydney’s bus network – including enhancing bus priority on clearways
- A bus network redesign to focus more on cross regional services and less on radial services only going into the city
- Changes to the CBD network to reduce congestion and the number of through CBD services – looking at bus termini on the near side of the CBD for services coming into the city
- A new tram service to run up George St and provide some of the through services (incidentally we have been assured this won’t affect bus driver jobs)
- The possibility of Northern Beaches Bus Rapid Transit and new CBD bus exchanges
- 313 more buses
All good initiatives and all things bus drivers have been saying should be done for years – and nothing has happened. Read more »
The RTBU Bus and Tram Division has called on the NSW Government to commit to a two-lane bus dedicated tunnel from Spit Junction following the release of the Northern Beaches bus rapid transit pre-feasibility study.
The NSW Government must commit to building a two-lane tunnel dedicated exclusively to buses connecting the Spit Junction with the Warringah Freeway if it wants to provide a serious solution to transport congestion on the Northern Beaches.
RTBU NSW Bus and Tram Division Secretary Chris said the bus rapid transit prefeasibility study released yesterday by the government covered six options but only a bus dedicated tunnel would ensure ongoing reliable bus travel without adverse impacts on the community.
“Dedicated bus lanes over the Spit Bridge have provided some relief but the tunnel will bypass congestion from Spit Junction along Military Rd and ensure a smooth run into the city.
“This will encourage more people to choose public transport as an option which will have a better outcome for congestion in the city and a better outcome for the environment.
Mr Preston said he was pleased to see the release of this report and the commitment shown towards solving the congestion problems long-suffering commuters face on the Northern Beaches.
“But now we need to see action and a commitment to implementing the option that will actually see this problem addressed in the long-term.
“The people of the Northern Beaches have been stuck in traffic jams for way too long. It is time to see investment in transport infrastructure for this community.”
Mr Preston said he also hoped that any new initiative for bus transport on the Northern Beaches would also addresss issues of bus congestion coming into the city at Wynyard.
“We need to see planning in Sydney that ensures transport is effectively integrated.”
Ideas put forward by drivers on how to improve Sydney buses formed part of the RTBU’s final submission to the NSW Long-Term Transport Masterplan.
“Everyone has a theory about what’s wrong with NSW transport,” said Mr Claassens at the event. “ Transport workers, however, understand the State’s transport system better than anyone.”
You can review the submission here.
Mr Claassens also said that increasing the number of workers on the transport network had to be a priority for any plan moving forward.
Bus drivers were recently asked to submit their ideas to Bus Express for how to improve STA bus services in Sydney.
Drivers were asked what they would do if they were the “boss for the day” and we were flooded with excellent, practical ideas.
The key things that drivers focused on in their responses were easing city congestion, improving the use of transit lanes, simplifying fares, improving buses and bus stops, increasing services and consulting more effectively with drivers.
A summary of these suggestions is below and will form the basis of a submission in the RTBU’s latest policy document and contribution to the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan. Read more »
Tell us how you would improve Sydney bus services
The State Government is looking for feedback from the community on how it can improve public transport for its Long-Term Transport Masterplan.
No one knows better than the people who work in the industry what works and what doesn’t so have a read of the Hot Topic and leave your comments!
Boss for a day: Tell us how you would improve Sydney bus services
When it comes to public transport, everyone has an idea about how it can be improved.
The State Government says it’s willing to listen to everyone’s ideas.
What’s more, it has promised to deliver a Long-Term Transport Masterplan for the NSW public transport system over the next 20 years.
The Minister for Transport will be releasing a discussion paper in February, before conducting a series of regional forums around the State.
A draft version of the Long-Term Masterplan is due to be released for public consultation in the middle of the year, before the final version is released in November.
This could mean big changes to the operation of Sydney’s bus services, and to the future of our jobs.
It’s important that we get involved in this process and have our say – otherwise we could be stuck with all sorts of changes thought up by people who don’t understand how bus services work.
Already, people are making suggestions about radical changes. Transport consultant Jarrett Walker, for example, made some interesting suggestions that were featured in a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
What do you think? How would you go about improving STA bus services?
If you’ve been keeping some ideas in your head, then it’s time to set those ideas free.
Now’s the time to tell us your ideas for improving STA bus services!
Just write your comments below to get the ball rolling.
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